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Courtesy: Jeff Huehn/UTSA Athletics

FIU sweeps Saturday doubleheader from UTSA

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics
Release: 04/13/2014
Courtesy UTSA Athletics
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MIAMI, Fla. — Megan Low hit her NCAA-leading 20th home run of the season, but FIU swept a Conference USA doubleheader from UTSA by scores of 5-0 and 4-3 on Saturday at FIU Stadium.

Low saw her hitting streak come to an end in game one, but the slugger reached base in both games and now has reached base in 24 consecutive games for the Roadrunners (19-23, 6-8 C-USA). Vivian Tijerina added three hits on the day for UTSA.

Meanwhile, Jenkins struck out a season-high seven batters in the opener before adding three punchouts to save game two for the Panthers (27-15, 9-5 C-USA).

The teams will conclude the series at 11 a.m. (CT) on Sunday.

Game 1: FIU 5, UTSA 0
Corinne Jenkins struck out a season-high seven batters and UTSA left nine runners on base as FIU took game one of the doubleheader 5-0.

Tess Soefje went 1-for-2 with a double for the Roadrunners, while Courtney Buchman, Jolene Graham, Siera Sproul and Vivian Tijerina each recorded singles. Nicole Merrill threw the first three innings and fell to 7-8 on the campaign after allowing three runs on two hits with four walks and a strikeout.

Meanwhile, Jenkins (14-6) went the distance for the Panthers and scattered five hits with two walks in addition to her season-best strikeout total. Aleima Lopez went 1-for-4 with a pair of RBIs to lead the FIU offense.

UTSA left three runners on base in the first two innings and watched as the Panthers took a 3-0 lead on just two hits. After getting an out to start the first, Merrill walked the bases loaded before Lopez singled to left field with two outs for a 2-0 lead.

FIU scratched together another run in the second on a double steal with two outs for a 3-0 cushion.

The Birds stranded two in the third and one in the fifth, while Merrill and reliever Chelsea Parker kept the score at 3-0.

Soefje got the UTSA offense going in the sixth with a two-out double to the wall in left. Jenkins gave up a pinch-hit single to Sproul before she walked pinch-hitter Randee Crawford to load the bases. However, the hurler escaped the jam with her seventh and final strikeout of the contest.

FIU added two insurance runs in the bottom of the panel and Jenkins retired the side in the seventh to preserve the victory.

Game 2: FIU 4, UTSA 3
FIU jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held off UTSA to score a 4-3 win and sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Megan Low went 1-for-2 with her NCAA-leading 20th home run of the season, while Vivian Tijerina went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles for the Roadrunners. Kacy Freeze took the loss and fell to 10-10 after allowing four runs on six hits with five walks and six strikeouts.

Gabby Spallone led the Panthers by going 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs.

Much like in game one, FIU jumped ahead with three runs in the first inning on just one hit. A walk and hit batter set up Spallone, who doubled to the gap in right center to plate both runners. A wild pitch moved Spallone to third before Aleima Lopez made the score 3-0 with a sacrifice bunt.

However, Low ended the shutout in the top of the third with a two-run shot to boost her NCAA-leading total of round-trippers. Darian Blake opened the frame with a single up the middle for the Roadrunners’ first hit of the game and was able to trot home on Low’s blast, which cut the deficit to 3-2.

The Panthers got one run back in the bottom of the panel, when Spallone lined another run-scoring double to push the FIU lead to 4-2.

The Roadrunners threatened in the fourth and the sixth by loading the bases, but each time the Panthers were able to escape the jams unscathed.

UTSA put runners on first and third with no outs in the seventh and scored a run on a double play to cut into the deficit, but reliever Corinne Jenkins got a strikeout to end the game and notch her fourth save of the season.

Shelby Graves earned the win for the Panthers after allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five innings.

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